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Robo-dog bites back

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A Doctor Who character gets a run of his own, writes Michael Idato.

Few television shows come with a pedigree like K-9's. A live-action series with impressive animated special effects, it is based on part of the Doctor Who mythology and stars that show's iconic robot dog.

"It has generated a very positive reaction and that association has already given, if one can say, some very serious legs," producer Penny Wall says.

"It is being made for a kids audience, an audience of nine-to-12-year-olds as such, but we're aware of the show's adult fan base."

K-9, the dog, first appeared in Doctor Who in 1977, in a serial written by Bob Baker. He was the first of four models. The first remained on the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey; the second in the alternate "E-space" universe; and the third was a gift for the Doctor's companion, Sarah Jane Smith, appearing first in the 1981 special K-9 and Company and later in the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. (That K-9 was destroyed on Earth and replaced with the fourth model.)

The K-9 that appears in this new Channel Ten spin-off is actually the first model, destroyed in the opening episode and then rebuilt into a sleeker, more futuristic version of himself. Wall says she was aware the "modernised" K-9 might be challenging for fans of the original, slightly tinny, metal prop.

"The original 1970s dog was very much a part of Doctor Who and the spin-off Sarah Jane stories but we felt our kids audience hasn't been exposed to a lot of the early Doctor Who and this is their world, a new world, so we felt we could create a new dog, one that is more modern, more contemporary in attitude and humour," Wall says.

The series was produced in collaboration with K-9's creator, Bob Baker, and his production partner, Paul Tams. Wall says they had "very strong" ideas about the character, they designed its new look and the Australian production "embraced their involvement because they're two very talented and creative men. It was lovely having them on board, consulting on a range of elements".

The series stars Keegan Joyce, Philippa Coulthard and Daniel Webber as Starkey, Jorjie and Darius, the three teenagers who become involved with K-9. Robert Moloney plays K-9's owner, Professor Gryffen, and John Leeson, who provided the voice of K-9 in his Doctor Who, K-9 and Company and Sarah Jane Adventures appearances, returns.

"We felt that because of that tradition, John was the suitable person to introduce our K-9," Wall says. "He brings the heritage forward into the future and it certainly was out of respect to the adult audience that exists from Doctor Who."

Wall says the series is fairly sophisticated, reflecting the evolving "kids' TV" audience. "Kids are a great deal more worldly and mature in some ways but I also find that kids embrace the world of fantasy and magic and everything that is not real and logical and I think K-9 fits into that world very well."

K-9 airs on Channel Ten on Saturday at 9.30am.


GRAPHIC: PHOTO: New world ... robotic dog K-9 is transported to a London of the future.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Idato, Michael (2010-03-29). Robo-dog bites back. The Sydney Morning Herald p. The Guide, p. 2.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Idato, Michael. "Robo-dog bites back." The Sydney Morning Herald [add city] 2010-03-29, The Guide, p. 2. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Idato, Michael. "Robo-dog bites back." The Sydney Morning Herald, edition, sec., 2010-03-29
  • Turabian: Idato, Michael. "Robo-dog bites back." The Sydney Morning Herald, 2010-03-29, section, The Guide, p. 2 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Robo-dog bites back | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Robo-dog_bites_back | work=The Sydney Morning Herald | pages=The Guide, p. 2 | date=2010-03-29 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Robo-dog bites back | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Robo-dog_bites_back | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 October 2019}}</ref>